Monday, October 6, 2014
A quiet day has sped by, once again. After chatting with Attila, I enjoyed a cup of coffee and some apple crisp for breakfast. Then I headed down to the basement to turn off the dehumidifier, and flip the breaker off for the hot water heater. The price of hydro goes up at 7:00 a.m., got to beat the meter!
The sunrise was beautiful, it came and was gone again before I knew it. I just went to the sink to rinse my coffee cup, and when I got back to the table the colours were gone, and the sky was grey in the morning light.
I spent quite a bit of time in the morning looking for canning jars. We have used canning jars for canisters, and for food storage, for many years. I found all of the 500 lm canning jars, checked each rim for chips, there were none, moved the contents from each to empty washed and saved jars, from previously purchased food. Then the canning jars were washed and ready for another canning session. New lids were counted out of the package, and matching used rings were set aside for the project.
Not all the ingredients needed were here at the little house in the city, so a shopping trip was in order. Of course, I found some items I could not resist. I bought two hams that would expire tomorrow, and so were half price, to be frozen immediately. I bought two cabbages at 39 cents a pound, locally grown. I bought my tomato juice and allspice for the pork n beans, and returned home.
After eating my lunch, I puttered around on the computer for a little while. I purchased a kitchen timer app from the Apple Store, for 99 cents. It works very well I think.
I caught another mouse, and immediately dealt with it, reset the trap and returned it in tool cupboard. No pictures were taken. That makes two mice that I have caught in the tool cupboard during this visit.
Yesterday I broke down and turned on the heat. In theory, the way the heat pump is configured, the furnace should not turn itself on unless the outdoor temperature is below 10C. Since it is a bit warmer than that outside, the heat pump should provide all of the heat. I set the thermostat to 20C and waited. Soon the house warmed from 17C to 20C. The heat pumps is working well so far! It does not run any more often than the furnace does, and uses electricity to run the compressor and the fans. The next hydro bill will tell the tale!
The afternoon was spent canning another batch of pork n beans. I made several changes, using navy rather than pinto beans, boiling and soaking the beans before they went into the jars, adding onions to the sauce, and allspice. I was a bit short of beans, so I only had eight jars to can.
October 7, 2014
One week, I have been at the little house in the city for one week. While I have been away Attila has made great strides in procuring the fire wood we need for winter heat. He isn’t quite done, but the snow isn’t flying yet! I will plan another lone trip soon, to give him a chance to finish the project. I return home late this week, before the cottagers decide to head north to their seasonal properties.
After Thanksgiving it will be time to cure the masonry heater, to prepare for the heating season. Attila spent last night, until midnight, splitting the hardwood needed for the curing process. All is ready. It falls to me to cure the masonry heater, for it is not a taxing undertaking. That will be five days spent burning small fires at two, three, and four hour intervals.
At this point, with our heating preparations so far along for the coming winter, it would be almost disappointing to sell the house!
Attila and I are spending Thanksgiving, Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend, with Terra and Lares, Lares’ best friend, Lares’ Grandmother, and a cacophony of dogs and cats. It should be a cozy and enjoyable weekend!
Breakfast this morning consisted of coffee, water, pork n beans, and sausage. This type of breakfast is a rare event for me, as oatmeal is my usual fare.
Yesterday’s batch of beans were much closer to what I had in mind, but not quite. I am fussy about my beans! They are a little too dry for my taste, not enough sauce in the jar, so the recipe still needs tweaking. It seems to me that if I reduce the quantity of beans per jar, that will increase the quantity of sauce per jar. It is worth a try. For the next batch of beans, the soaked beans will be measured very carefully into the jars, different amounts in differently shaped jars, the quantities recorded, and the results compared. I will get this recipe to work the way I want it to, I will!
Again, I had 100% seals, and no siphoning. I conclude that the siphoning, at least in my case, can be avoided by removing the weight gauge very, very slowly, releasing the pressure by minute increments.
I am considering canning the cabbage I purchased this week, maybe I will, maybe I won’t! Cabbage keeps almost forever in the refrigerator, we might eat it all before I get around to canning it.
I headed out to Terra’s place for a visit today. We chatted, peeled apples that she had picked herself, to make her apple crisps, which she intended to freeze. We discovered that the oatmeal that she used for baking the apple crisps were processed in a facility where my allergen was being used. We discovered the oatmeal I bought for her has no such issue, so she is making another apple crisp for Thanksgiving dinner, one that I can eat. We had a snack, Terra had a sandwich, but all of the bread she had contained my allergen, so I decided to have a bowl of oatmeal, which is when I discovered the allergen in the oatmeal issue. Luckily I had purchased additional oatmeal for her, and I read labels so it was allergen free, so I got my bowl of oatmeal after all. We went out to her garden, and I collected all of the tomatoes she will not harvest, almost all of them are split, and have a bit of rot here and there. I picked them all, including the green ones, and the beets that Terra said they don’t want. Three bags full of tomatoes and beets! Bounty that would have been left to rot in the garden without me!
The rest of the afternoon was spent peeling and chopping tomatoes, and cleaning beets. The tomatoes were put on the range to boil down before freezing, and the beets will be cooked in a pressure cooker tomorrow, before going into the freezer. The beet greens were not very nice, but I did manage to find enough healthy looking greens for one meal, and cooked them for my supper. There were enough green tomatoes to fill a cardboard tray, which I placed near a window, where it will receive direct sunlight.
I also perused our garden and picked all of the tomatoes that had ripened over the last few days. I came away with about six quarts of tomatoes from our garden.
It was a busy day, and I was very tired by the time I had all of those vegetables either cooked, frozen, or temporarily refrigerated. Tomorrow I will finish the job!
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 6 October 2014
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: SE 11 km/h
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Tuesday 7 October 2014
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: SW 26 km/h
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
1878 – 1967
Note to self: Do not read Maggie’s journal at bedtime. It will make you hungry!
I hope you have better luck with your mice than SS30 did. He found a baby mouse about a month ago and set a live-catch trap for it. Reset the trap and caught another the next day. At that point I did some research and found that a mother mouse can have up to 15 in a litter, and then can have another set only about a month later! Last I heard, he’d caught and released something like a dozen baby mice.
Three cheers for the heat pump! I had a heat pump when I lived down in South Carolina. Most definitely an area where having a heat pump can save you lots of money due to there hardly ever being any days below 10C. I wonder what the tipping point is for a heat pump saving visible amounts of money? I guess I just assumed that we have so many days below 10C that it wouldn’t make much difference. And at this point, that’s just about right. Right now, we either have temps above 10C and we haven’t needed the furnace or we have (mostly nighttime) temps below 10C and the furnace does come on, every once in a while.
I’m making a Carrot Cake Trifle for Canadian Thanksgiving. We always try to bring our foods to SS30, since he usually volunteers to work on the holiday. (He’s manager of a restaurant.) Like you, SS30 has an allergy. His is to sweeteners; they give him headaches. Me, as I am both insulin resistant and eat low carb, many of my foods include sweeteners. This weekend, though, I’ll make my trifle with just regular sugar, so that SS30 can enjoy it.
Have you tried the little trick of filling a spray bottle with half white vinegar and half water and spraying all around where the mice are coming in? It works for bugs but it also deters rodents I believe. Just spray in there all around once every other day or so.
lol Wendy! Hope it didn’t keep you awake, or that you had a great snack!
Teri, certainly, the further south you go, the more economic sense a heat pump makes. We wouldn’t even consider one at our country house, too far north, it would only run a few days a year!
I use regular sugar whenever I can, although I do have sweeteners around just in case I need them. Terra is using a product sweetened with stevia, which contains maltodextrin, which is probably more benign than the artificial sweeteners. WHO has posted new recommendations for sugar consumption, stating that sugar should represent less than 5% of a person’s calories for the day. A recent Globe and Mail article,
translated that into consumer language: “To meet the 5-per-cent target, an adult of a healthy weight would need to eat fewer than six teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar a day. ” So I am struggling to keep to 6 teaspoons or less. It is a tough go though, I use about 3 teaspoons of maple syrup every morning in my coffee, and I have no intentions of giving that up, not willingly anyway. That leaves 3 teaspoons for the rest of the day. It doesn’t take much for that to add up, bread, peanut butter, all kinds of foods, have high sugar content.
I hadn’t heard that trick Bex, and will definitely give it a go, as soon as we figure out where they are coming in! We think it is somewhere in the roof, which is a big area to try and find teeny tiny entrance location. They are only able to enter the tool cupboard, probably through a hole we haven’t found yet, so we know they must be coming in from the ceiling, otherwise we would find evidence of the in other parts of the house. But the kitchen seems free and clear of them so far, so we are pretty sure they are coming in through the ceiling. That is Attila’s next job here at the little house, looking for mouse holes in the attic! I will get spray bottle ready for him too!
The cadence of a happy home with happy chores (maybe not the mouse) is such a pleasure to read. And Like Wendy, I found myself getting hungry!
I almost never use sugar. I just switched from my morning yogurt that contained sucralose to the same brand that contains stevia, which is a wholly natural sweetener. And my Blue Menu PC ketchup that contained sucralose is now made with stevia, too. (I’ve gotten to the point where normal ketchup tastes WAY too sweet.) My ice tea contains sucralose but I cut the tea in half with homemade tea that DH makes every morning and then refrigerates what’s leftover.
Probably my biggest sugar usage of the day is I allow myself a cup of ice cream each evening. That’s about 17-21 grams of sugar, which is high for one of my foods.
For the most part DH and I eat mostly meats, nuts, and veggies/salads, with an occasional foray into breads/pastas/grains. Of course, DH eats much more breads/pastas than I do. Probably about 4 times more on a daily basis. I even have my own low carb bread and burger buns. But I do make exceptions for holidays. 😉
Thanks Reenie, you are right about the mouse in the house!
Teri, that ice cream sounds like the perfect end to the day!